Reference : National Adaptation of New Math as a Cold War ‘Globally’-disseminated Idea in Luxembo...
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Education & instruction
National Adaptation of New Math as a Cold War ‘Globally’-disseminated Idea in Luxembourg: Confrontation of National Values and International Urges
Nadimi Amiri, Shaghayegh mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
European Conference on Educational Research. Theme: Education and Transition - Contributions from Educational Research
from 7-9-2015 to 11-9-2015
European Educational Research Association
[en] After the end of the World War II, almost all western countries started reforming their education system, specially maths and science education, as a result of their wartime experience and the new economic and security needs. This trend has been accelerated after the launch of Sputnik satellite by the USSR in October 1957. One of the main subject that has been reformed vigorously was school mathematics, specifically under the name of the New Math reform, created by SMSG (School Mathematics Study Group) in 1958. The New Math reform was a means to modernise not just the school maths education but also the idea of why students should learn mathematics.
The beginning of the New Math reform movement in Europe is originated in a so-called Royaumont seminar with the official title of “New thinking in school mathematics”. The seminar was held in Paris, between 23rd of November and 4th of December 1959. This seminar triggered many reforms and changes in school mathematics during 1960s and 1970s in Europe including Luxembourg.
This paper is a part of my Ph.D. project under the main title “Travelling ideologies and national adaptations: The implementation of New Math in Luxembourgian school system during 1960s-1970s”. The main focus of the project is to see how the New Math was adapted for Luxembourgian schools in order to reveal how a ‘globally’-disseminated idea about how mathematics is connected to the ideology of the rational and critical citizen has been implemented in this country by translating it into its cultural idiosyncrasy. During the 1960s and 1970s there were many attempts by Luxembourg mathematicians at adapting conceptions of the new mathematics to make them applicable first for the secondary and later for the primary levels. However, the development of my study showed that the New Math reform, unlike in the U.S. or in France, did not have a sharp starting point in Luxembourg, but it was part of a smooth transitional movements that started around 1900 when the country was trying to define its national identity. Therefore, this presentation starts with a brief review of the changes in school mathematics since 1900 up to the end of 1970s when the New Math officially was introduced in the primary level, and studies the arguments and discussion with regard to mathematics education with a focus on the discussion around the era that Royaumont seminar was taking place and after that. The importance of the Royaumont seminar is that from then, the international efforts came to the playfield through OEEC/OECD and intervened in the national demarche. Accordingly the main questions that lead this presentation are: How was the meaning and purpose of mathematics education changing in Luxembourg during the first 70 years of twentieth century? Where did different people or groups in Luxembourg placed mathematics in their expected education at the time when the New Maths movement started in Europe in 1959? Finally, how did OECD influence the development of adapting this suggesting ideology related to education, and how did different people and groups react or collaborate?

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